colby caldwell

Susan Alta Martin - Day Seven

colby caldwell
Susan Alta Martin - Day Seven
 "Scene Change" from Grisha Bruskin's "Theatre of the World"  Photo by Susan Alta Martin

"Scene Change" from Grisha Bruskin's "Theatre of the World"

Photo by Susan Alta Martin

The elephant in the room. 

The prompt for the Observer in Residence was to write about things that “excited, interested, confused or inspired you today.” While everything I have written certainly fits that bill I have been quiet about the thing that truly dominates my thoughts these days - our current political situation.

One of the reasons I haven’t said anything is that I am afraid. I am afraid because it feels like it is only a matter of time before they start coming after people for their political beliefs. Another reason I am afraid is that I don’t want to commit to paper what I know to be true - we are in serious trouble. I feel increasingly powerless in a country supposedly built by and for the people. 

What I am feeling is a lot like grief. I go about my daily life. I love my life. I love my family. I have a great job. I have wonderful colleagues. I have an art community that supports me. I wake up in the morning and have a cup of coffee on my deck and watch the sunrise over the mountain. And then, like the memory of someone who has recently passed, I feel a huge weight descend. I feel nauseous and my thinking gets confused. I have a strong desire to sleep. 

I work hard. I have been very lucky. I am privileged. I am thankful. But the cognitive dissonance between those feelings and what I know our government is doing and how that projects into the future is shaking me. 

Right now I am sitting at a picnic table at Island Park in Cherokee while my son competes in a mountain bike race. It is a warm summer day. Tourists are enjoying themselves. And at our border we are taking children away from their parents. They are human beings, not problems, or criminals, or animals. This is only the most recent atrocity (our whole system of government is being treated with equal disregard). This is not normal. We cannot let any of this be normal.